Still Dropping Like Flies

Earlier this week the GMC at long last released data on the number of doctors who died while undergoing fitness to practice investigation and monitoring. The number of deaths should be extremely small — the individuals at risk are working age adults with good socioeconomic status — and the numbers are small, on average about ten a year in recent years. But are these numbers really that small?  For comparison, there are currently around twenty deaths in police custody annually in all England and Wales, a conceptually similar but in other respects very different so-called never event that should never happen. When Dr No last wrote about what we might loosely call deaths in GMC custody, in 2013, the annual number of deaths, revealed after a FOI request, was very similar, around eleven, a number subsequently confirmed in a 2014 internal GMC review, which also revealed that around one in four of the deaths were suicides. In the data released this week, around one in five or six of the deaths were suicides.

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